Moments 

“Nick, stop!” Jane screamed as she followed Nick, who was running madly in the streets.

Nick had avoided getting hit by a car several times, but there is nothing that showed he will certainly remain alive if he continues running.

Jane ran recklessly, avoiding buildings and road signs, and tripped. 

She shrieked. She tried to stand up, but her ankle was too swollen. She cried, screamed in pain, and tried finding a way to stand up again but it was useless. She cried a little more and when she lifted her head, she saw a hand extended towards her, there to help her get up. It was Nick. 

“I can’t stand up,” she said.

“Stand on one foot. I’ll carry you.” 

He carried her all the way to the nearest bench and they both sat there. 

“I called an ambulance. They’ll take care of you,” he said.

Jane was silent. 

“Jane, I…”

“I don’t want to hear it. I’m furious. Why in the fucking world would you run like this?” 

“Jane, I was running away because it was the only way.” 

“The only way for what?” she asked.

“This might sound illogical, but it’s the only way to avoid facing my problems. I thought of running as far as I can, running away from it all. I couldn’t stand it, I was going insane.”

Jane sat there silent. 

She said, a little calm now, “Nick, you have no idea what it’s like to have to deal with something that kills you inside.”

“I think I do. All of what I’m facing right now proves that I do,” he said.

“There’s something I need to tell you…” 

“Nick,” she continued, “I…I am jealous and selfish.” 

“You? Selfish? Jealous? How does that even make sense?”
He looked surprised.

“I am fucking jealous of Rosie. I can’t handle the way she gets everyone to like her, nor the way her hair has volume in all the right places, nor the way she aces all her courses, nor the way she’s so good at everything she does, nor the way she took you away from me.”

Jane paused. Nick seemed to be puzzled.

“Woah, woah, woah,” he said, “Take me away from you? Where’s that coming from? You were always okay with me sometimes hanging out with other people.” 

“I thought I was but, Nick, I can’t stand seeing you so happy with her. What happened to Nick and Jane? The incredible duo? Our laughs? Our memories? Our late-night conversations?”

“Nothing has changed,” he continued.

“Oh, it has changed a lot. Nick, I apologized the first time for trying to pull you and Rosie apart but it is killing me inside. I can’t do anything but smile, but in reality, my heart is being torn into a million pieces.”

“I’m selfish because I want you all to myself, Nick Dawson. I don’t like it when Rosie interrupts our chats, when you talk about how much fun you two are having together. In fact, that breaks my heart.” 

“…It breaks my heart to see you so happy with someone else.” 

Nick remained silent, looked Jane in the eyes, and grabbed her hands.

“Jane, you are the most important person in my life. I would never want to make you feel unwanted or left out or replaced.”

“Well, you did.” 

“Would you let me finish? I have to remind you how special you are to me. And there’s only one way to do it…”

Nick was interrupted by the sound of thunder. The lightning blinded them for a second, and the rain started pouring heavily. 

“Looks like the universe wants to make things special,” Nick said with a smile.

“What’s happening?” 

“Grab my hand. I’m going to sweep you off your feet.” 

“You want to dance?” said Jane, “I can’t stand up.” 

“You don’t have to,” he said.

Nick immediately carried her in his arms and twirled her around about five times, and enjoyed every second her scared laugh.

He put her back on the bench, and she said, “I can’t believe you would spin me like that! Why would you do that?” 

“I want to hear you laugh. I want to hear you scream and hold me tightly because you’re afraid you’d fall. I want to hear you yell at me to put you down. I want to hear your breath as you try to calm down from all the spinning. I want you to love me again.” 

“I love you, Nick, you know that.” 

“The feeling is mutual. Now, anything else I could do for you before the ambulance gets here? It’s about time it arrives.” 

“Well, there is one thing…”

“Name it.”

“Hold me tightly, and protect me from the pouring rain. Hold my hand, and say you won’t let go, even during our darkest times. A promise for our friendship.” 

“Anything you want, milady.” 

He hugged her tightly and kissed the back of her hand. She blushed and they both admired the rain and looked at how wet their clothes got until the ambulance finally showed up. 

This One’s for You

This one’s for you; the one who is going through a tough time and is ready to give up,
The one who feels like nothing will ever go right again after making one mistake,
The one who has so much to offer the world, but remains silent and afraid of the comments and rejection of society,
The one who is silenced by fear and confusion,
The one who sees the beauty in people, even when people reveal nothing but their ugly sides,
To you.

I love you. I love your flaws and your remarkable features. I love that incredible mind of yours. You are beautiful, strong, and independent. It’s just an impossible period of time, not an impossible life.

Surround yourself with people who make you happy, do more of what brings serenity to your life, and smile more often. Happiness looks great on you, I’m sure of that. You are doing a wonderful job, and it’s only a matter of temporary stress, remember that.

Cheers.

Civil War

I joined the army because I thought that was what real men were supposed to do. Real men protect and serve. Real men defend their nation. Real men fight for their women and children. Real men don’t get hurt. Real men die and are remembered as martyrs.

Wrong.

I stepped into the base. I noticed the macho guys doing their push-ups, climbing, crawling, escaping barbed wires, and behaving like “real men”. I could feel them looking at me, mocking my skinny physique, judging me. A few seconds later, I looked forward and saw nothing else but a mountain in front of me. That mountain was known as the Sergeant. He was around 6 feet tall, with a body perhaps a hundred times more muscular than mine, if not more.

He introduced himself as Sergeant Morris. He yelled instead of speaking normally, and he spat in our faces. He had a Crucifix tattooed on this upper arm, and he repeatedly roared, “WE FIGHT IN THE NAME OF THE POWERFUL UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” and spat a little more with ever yell.

“You,” he pointed at me, “Introduce yourself, beanstalk.”

I stepped forward and opened my mouth, but couldn’t even say my name. A shivering voice finally came out, “Roger Matthews, Sir.”

He grabbed me by the shoulders, turned me around, and pushed me back to where I was first standing. The other men laughed.

I had troubles climbing the ropes, breaking free from traps, or doing anything that required physical strength. Every night I would lie in bed, bruised and scarred, praying to God and asking Him if I made the right choice. I got no answers from Him, just a remark from one of the guys in the bunk telling me to shut up. And when I whispered my prayers, I would receive a pillow as hard as concrete to the face. Last night, one of the guys undressed me while I was asleep. I can hardly figure out how he knew I was a very heavy sleeper, but he knew. I woke up the next day, without any pants on and shirtless. I shrieked. They started telling me that I was sleepwalking, and other crap of the sort. They belittled me, spat in my face, threw their dirty clothes at me, turned me into their doormat. I was despised.

I trained harder every day, cursing every second I spent in this hell, and finding new ways to run away from being “accidentally” punched in the face by one of the guys. I eventually was able to climb the rope and jump from the top of the cement wall, but I still had to master the art of holding a weapon. I hesitated at first, because I’ve always been a pacifist, you might say, but Sergeant Morris threatened to make my life even more miserable than it was at first if I don’t shoot at the target.

“WE FIGHT IN THE NAME OF THE POWERFUL UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,” he shouted again.

I shot clumsily but somehow the bullet struck the center of the target, exactly. The sergeant lifted me, suffocating me a little, called it a congratulations hug, and said that I have evolved well. He patted my shoulder. It hurt for three days.

The weeks passed by and that was when we were told that the times of safety were over. Our opponents had trespassed all of the borders. It’s time to confront the enemy.

“Roger! Leopold! Francis! Get your weapons ready!”

We ran to the tank. I didn’t know what to feel. Now began the moment of survival.

The tank was moving quickly, and all of us soldiers were being thrown from side to side inside it. None of us was able to sit still, we were all worried. The tank stopped and we all got off.

“Run for your life,” I told myself. “They hate you. I guess it’s every man for himself.” I was running madly, trying to breathe with every step I took. I found this huge rock I could hide behind, and luckily avoided being shot in the leg.

“Great, not only am I probably going to die today, but I also nearly lost a leg. It was close, Matthews. Really close,” I thought.

I ran.

I hid behind an abandoned house and tried catching my breath. That was when I saw the enemy. Without noticing, Leopold stood next to me. “What are you doing?” he said, “Shoot!” he barked in my ear.

“I can’t kill, Leopold. I just can’t!”

“Do you want to come out alive, or do you want to perish?! Shoot!”

Leopold grabbed my arm, put his hand on top of mine, and made my finger pull the trigger. The soldier was shot in the back. I couldn’t believe it…I had just killed a man. I witnessed his blood pouring out. I saw his last movement; he moved a finger. The man was dead. I had just killed a man.

Leopold carried me back to the tank, shouted something about me to Sergeant Morris, and joined the battlefield again. Sergeant Morris reprehended me, but I didn’t listen; I was traumatized. I had just killed a man who, like me, was in the army to defend his nation, to be a real man.

We fought for months, barely making it out alive every day. As the war came to an end, it was clear that few were the men who remained alive. I was running recklessly, but the enemy shot me. I was shot in the head. The last thing I saw was Leopold crying.

Look, God. The war is over, but he didn’t taste victory. He fought for his country. He protected and served. He could have helped his country by becoming a writer, but no. He died during the war but, sadly, he was not really remembered.

Hey, America, is he a real man to you?

 

Inspired by the movie Hacksaw Ridge.

Confessions

Nick and I were invited to a birthday party the other night, and we were the last two people to leave. Even the girl whose birthday it was had left. It was 1AM, can you blame her? After all, she did get surprised big time that night.

We held the birthday surprise at one of our hangouts, The Lonely Corner. If you saw how crowded it always is, you’d think the name was pretty ironic. Anyway, behind The Lonely Corner lied a swing set. Nick was like, “Hey! I haven’t sat on a swing in ages. Look, I’m 10 again.” I sat on the swing right next to his and acted a little childlike myself.

Nick stopped swinging. He saw me rubbing my hands together and blowing some hot air into my palms, trying to feel warm. Before I knew it, he took off his jacket and covered my shoulders.

“No, Nick, now you will feel cold and I don’t want you to get sic-” I said, a little aggressively.

He insisted I wear it, and that was when he looked straight into my eyes. He smiled.

“You know what’s funny?” I said. “I never noticed that little twinkle in your eyes.”

“Well, you have beautiful eyes too… and they talk to me.”

“And what are they saying?”

“That I looked absolutely hot tonight,” he said, and we both burst out laughing. He then continued saying, “I don’t always tell you this, but when I want to, I don’t get the chance to do so.”

I shrugged.

“You know how we’ll be off to college soon? Yeah, well, among all the people that I could possibly stop talking to in the future, or all the people that I might let go of, I pray you’ll never be one of them.”

A smile was drawn on my face. I couldn’t believe what I was just told. You probably are wondering why I was so stunned, considering Nick and I were best friends and all, but what you don’t know is that Nick and I had had a huge argument a month ago, and made up after tons of apology attempts. You didn’t know about this simply because we didn’t tell anyone.

“I feel the same way,” I finally uttered.

Nick started blowing hot air into his palms. “Told you you’d feel cold,” I said, “My hands are warm now, hand me yours.”

I grabbed his frozen fingers and I could see he felt better. I looked at him firmly, and said, “Tell me something. Anything.”

“I love you.”

“Tell me something I don’t know.”

“Okay. I’ve been having a great time lately. Everything’s been going great; my football team won the finals, my grades are outstanding, and I have healthy relationships with everyone. I’m happy.”

I looked down, and bit my lip. Then I contemplated Nick’s face attentively. “How do you do it?”

“Do what?”

“How are you so good at everything you do? How do you maintain strong connections with everyone at all times? How do you not stress out all the time? How do you do it?

“Alright, fine. I want to tell you something I don’t usually talk about. The truth is I don’t know if I’m ready to go to New York for college. I’m scared, Jane. I don’t know how I’ll handle a long-distance relationship with Rosie. I don’t know how I’ll keep in touch with my parents all the time. I don’t know how I’ll handle being in New York while you’re here in Chicago.”

I grinned again.

“And who says I don’t stress out?” he continued. “I’m at the top level of stressing out right now. Oh, and one more thing: it’s important to keep in mind that the most essential thing is to be someone good, someone passionate, someone loyal, someone determined, and someone who loves. It’s hard, but I manage.”

“My best friend is so wise.” I said with a cheeky smile.

“I’m wise and am the way I am because my best friend always motivated me to be the best I can be. Because my best friend told me about a quadrillion times that life doesn’t stop at failure. Because my best friend was awesome to me, and I wanted to be like her to other people.”

“You wanted to be like me? But I’ve always wanted to be like you!”

“Yes, Jane. You’ve had a great impact on my life. You don’t know how many problems I had before we met. My parents were trying to help, but you made things right again.”

And at this moment, we stopped talking, started swinging again, looked at each other and laughed…and that was when we saw car lights. Our moms were here to pick us up.

“Bye, Nick.”

“Bye, Jane.”

“And…Nick? Promise me we’ll always push each other to do our best, and that no matter what happens, no matter where we end up in college, no matter in which country life puts us in, we’ll always talk.”

“I promise. I love you.” He turned around and headed towards the car.

“I love you way more,” I whispered as I watched him walk away.

Little Random Post

I have to be honest and say that I don’t really know where I’m going with this post. Let’s see…

My 15 years in school are practically over. I graduate this year. MOMMA, I’M GRADUATING HIGH SCHOOL IN A FEW MONTHS! 

Okay now that I let that out, I would like to confess that the idea of “the future” scares me. My dad says to live day-by-day and not to worry about the future but guess who finds that impossible

I can’t help but think of how I’m about to jump from one phase of life into another without going through a sort of try-living-on-your-own-for-a-few-months experience. I don’t know. I mean for the first 18-to-20 years of your life everything you want is taken care of by your parents and you’re still their little baby and suddenly woop! You’re off to college. You’re now an adult and you’re supposed to handle your life, stress, studies and problems all by yourself. Cool.

I’m applying for a major in biology. Many have asked if by “biology” I meant “pre-med biology” and one can clearly see that they lost interest the second I said no. I have repeatedly received comments such as “PURE BIOLOGY? Then what? Teaching career?”
In fact, yes. I’m aiming for a PhD. Soon, you’ll be calling me “professor”.

However, even if I know that I’m passionate about biology and that I find pleasure in studying it, I still have some doubts. Is it really what I want?

***

Another thing that I’d like to talk about is something regarding school in general. Listen, kids. High school is tough. You will  face competition, you will have emotional breakdowns because of grades, you will face a stress that will sometimes lead to failure, you will go through sleepless nights, you will get heartbroken, you will face disappointments, and you will meet new people and let go of the ones you thought will always stay by your side. But if there’s something I have learned from high school, it’s that grades will never define how smart you are. Perhaps in middle school you never fought for your grades, and maybe other people’s results didn’t mean to you when you were younger. Everything was fine. You did your best and that seemed enough. Now you realized that other people’s achievements do affect you, and that you are indeed fighting for your grades, but guess what? You’re not the only one going through this. In middle school, teachers and administration members push you to do your best so that you can make it to and through high school. However, ever since you start your sophomore year, every teacher starts following you, telling you that you have to excel in everything, enroll in extracurricular activities and all that bullshit because if you don’t, university X won’t accept you.

We all want to get into the best universities. I know that from myself. But I think that school shouldn’t push you to do this and that. The school’s job is to guide you in order for you to choose the university that is best for you and whatever major you want. I think that, in the end, it’s all a matter of reputation. You know, a way for administration members to brag and say “yeah well we have a student, X, who studies at Harvard” and “Yes, our students are going to the American University of Beirut”.

Well, I think I made a point. I’d like to wrap everything up by thanking my parents because they never made a big deal out of a certain bad grade since they know that I’m doing my best, my best friends with whom I grew up because they’ve always had my back, the people I’ve met recently (a few years back) because they have been wonderful, and finally, God, because He always listened to my prayers and eased my pain.

Let this be a lesson to you: do your absolute best, all the time. If you succeed, you’re on the right track. If you fail, try again. Don’t let one, two, or even eight bad grades get you down, because life is about much more than academic results. And finally, the stress you will face is only temporary. When you’re down, always try finding a reason to smile. Stay positive, stay determined, and keep blogging.

On Loyalty and Haughtiness – Part One

My best friend and I have recently talked a lot about loyalty.

To many, loyalty is a value that seems to be slowly perishing. If we had to go by the meaning of the term as it appears in the dictionary, we can see that “loyal” appears as follows:

“Giving or showing firm support or allegiance to a person or institution.” 

What I’ve seemed to notice a lot lately is the sudden splitting of once-indestructible relationships because of trust issues and loyalty problems. Trust me, the post-separation state is even worse. The other day, I saw this tweet which pretty much sums up everything in a very matter-of-fact way:

capture

Before I talk about my own point of view on the subject, I thought of looking at psychology’s side which states the following:

“Most of us choose friends and romantic partners based on vague or unidentified feelings alone. […] If someone betrays you for a very big reason, you’re lost without a set of conscious convictions to guide you; so you might hang around longer than you should, because your feelings tell you, “This person has been in my life, and I shouldn’t change that now.”

If you live your life consciously, by a set of conscious convictions and principles, then you deliberately select your friends and loved ones accordingly. If you value integrity and honesty, for example, then you not only seek to practice it, but to find people who do the same. […]

If you value your ideals consciously, and you seek to uphold them in daily life, then your friends and spouse will be very important to you. They’re important to you because they embody and actualize — in your eyes, and hopefully in reality — your most cherished values. Loyalty in that context is “easy,” in that betraying people who embody what’s important to you would go against everything  you think and most deeply feel.” (Dr. Hurd, July 7th, 2014)

If I had to talk about this from a personal point of view, one of the feelings I hate the most is that feeling you get when you realize that the other person involved in the relationship is not putting as much effort in the affiliation as you are. You know when you’re the one always asking the other person about his/her worries? When you’re the one actually doing whatever it takes to keep the other person happy? Yes, that sucks. And yeah I will come out and say that I am loyal, because I am always there when a friend needs me, and when I fail at being there, I  sincerely apologize because it matters to me. I don’t know if that says that I’m overly attached to certain people (and somehow that it’s terribly hard to let go of people who hurt me), but if that’s what’s pushing me to be loyal, then should I try to change things? Maybe. It hurts sometimes (a lot) but the people’s happiness I get in return makes up for it, partially.

My friend has his own opinion on the subject. He actually wanted me to call this post “The Fear of Loyalty” based on a bad incident that had once taken place in my life, and when I asked him to elaborate, he explained it by saying that I appreciate loyalty after the incident, which is awfully true. I also fear people talking badly about me regardless of all my loyalty to them, so in a way, as my friend mentioned, I fear trusting people not to talk behind my back (which is also true), and all of that means that I feel that the loyalty people have to offer me might hurt me (or them) too often.

See the problem with loyalty is that it’s too fragile. It takes one mistake to ruin the fidelity you have towards someone, and that is just a real killer for all types of relationships. Imagine breaking a promise…a promise that said that you will always stay by your friend’s side no matter how hard times get, and one day you just turn your back, and pretend like you’ve never promised anything. I guess you can visualize the devastation that would take place as soon as the promise is broken.

One last thing. If you’re anything like me, stick to other people’s sides, be there for them, and all I can say is try as much as possible not to get too attached, just to avoid a broken heart later on. Easier said that done, perhaps, but somehow better for you. Just be there for others as much as you can, stay positive, love and respect others and never let anyone bring you down.

Musical Favorites (Top 10)

Here is a list of my most favorite songs, with a little choice explanation. Picking a top 10 was the hardest thing ever, considering there are many amazing songs out there. The following songs made the cut nonetheless:

10. Whiskey Lullaby — Brad Paisley

If you know this song, you can probably understand why it gets me. It is one of the few songs that can genuinely pass on the sadness and the pain to the person listening.

“He put that bottle to his head and pulled the trigger, and finally drank away her memory. Life is short but this time it was bigger than the strength he had to get up off his knees. We found him with his face down in the pillow, with a note that said ‘I’ll love her till I die’. And when we buried him beneath the willow…the angels sang a whiskey lullaby.”

9. Hero — Enrique Iglesias

I just love this song so much because it talks about loyalty, wanting to be there for your lover, and wanting to be with the one you love forever.

“I can be your hero, baby. I can kiss away the pain. I will stand by you forever. You can take my breath away.”

8. Here Without You — 3 Doors Down

BIG CLASSIC. This song never fails to depress me, I’m sorry. But I love it because of the lyrics and the emotions felt, and because the song expresses how much someone’s absence in our lives can affect us, mostly negatively.

“A hundred days have made me older since the last time that I saw your pretty face. A thousand lies have made me colder, and I don’t think I can look at this the same. But all the miles that separate, disappear now when I’m dreaming of your face.” 

7. The Way — Jeremy Camp

You might know this, and you might not, but I’m a Christian believer. This song talks about Jesus, the Way, and about His Glory. Honestly, the lyrics, vocals, and the music, give me shivers down my spine.

“And Your glory shines all around us. Your faithfulness shown for all to see. When we think of all of Your wonders, the beauty of Your plan that’s been revealed, we walk in Your light, we walk in it. Shine bright, let Your glory fill this land. Lift high, the King of Kings and great I am…Jesus, You are the way.”

6. Perfect — P!nk

Yes, I know this isn’t the original song title, but I initially downloaded the radio edit version. What I love about this song is that it reflects the life of most teenagers (feeling unloved, mistaken, misunderstood, being laughed at etc) but it aims to tell people that no matter how society treats them, they are still worth a lot more.

“Pretty, pretty please, don’t you ever, ever feel like you’re less than, less than perfect. Pretty, pretty please, if you ever, ever feel like you’re nothing, you are perfect to me.” 

5. Never Too Late — Three Days Grace

I’m going to quote Three Days Grace’s old vocalist for this one because it sums up everything: “This song is about feeling like you wanna give up on everything, it’s about feeling like you don’t really belong here anymore, and it’s about feeling like wanting to sort of end everything…but, really, this song is about not giving up at all.”

“Even if I say it’ll be alright, still I hear you say you want to end your life. Now and again we try to just stay alive. Maybe we’ll turn it all around ’cause it’s not too late, it’s never too late.” 

4. The Reason — Hoobastank

This song will be in my “Favorites” playlist for as long as I live because it’s absolutely perfect. The Reason discusses changing to the better for the person you love, and sort of demanding forgiveness for all the mistakes that have been made. THE EMOTIONS ARE REAL.

“I’m not a perfect person. There’s many things I wish I didn’t do, but I continue learning. I never meant to do those things to you, and so I have to say before I go that I just want you to know…I found a reason for me to change who I used to be.”

3. Cry Out to Jesus — Third Day

This song must be my all-time favorite worship song. Not only does it portray how amazing Jesus is, but it also urges each and every single one of us to seek and find refuge in Him, to ask for His help in times of sorrow and pain because He will make it better.

“There is hope for the helpless, rest for the weary, and love for the broken hearts. There is grace and forgiveness, mercy and healing… He’ll meet you wherever you are. Cry out to Jesus.” 

2. What a Shame — Shinedown

This song is a masterpiece. It talks about a man who killed himself because of a judgemental society. It tries to tell people that we are begging society to realize that we are all different and it shouldn’t judge people because of who they are, and yet it still does.

“What a shame, what a shame, to judge a life that you can’t change. The choir sings, the church bells ring, so won’t you give this man his wings? What a shame to have to beg you to see we’re not all the same. What a shame.”

1. Summer of ’69 — Bryan Adams

Those who know me certainly know that this is my favorite song. I guess the feelings of reminiscence in that song are powerful enough for me to want to listen to it 10 times in a row, and basically I love every second of it.

“And now the times are changing, look at everything that’s come and gone. Sometimes, when I play that ol’ six-string, I think about you, wonder what went wrong.”